Category Archive: Guilt

Bait and Switch

The afternoon was warm and balmy. We walked down the oceanfront street, shops beckoning with beautiful wares. A young woman, cute hat atop her pretty, long brown hair, reached out to hand me samples of skin products.

I usually say ‘no’ and keep walking, which I started to do again. But she was insistent and I took the samples, dropping them into my bag.

“You have such pretty eyes,” she said (oh, does that appeal to my ego??). “Let me give you something for them.”

“Only if I can keep walking,” I said, thinking she would hand me another sample and Don and I would be on our way.

“Yes, just a minute. Come here.” And with that she drew me (and by default, my sweet husband) into the store, lathered some cream under my eye and told me to let it set. Then she did the same to Don. Well … not a good time to walk out!

“Wallah,” Leah said a few minutes later. “You have a great result. Look how the wrinkles have lessened. You too Mr. Don.” And they had. Between her lovely Israeli accent and fast speech it wasn’t always easy to keep up with what she said.

Then she offered us a “treatment” as part of the package, and Chloe took over. She showed us another product, much, much more costly, and how it would take years off our (‘beautiful, handsome’) faces. We told her we didn’t want to purchase it.

“But isn’t your health, your face worth doing something for yourself? You’ve spent your lives helping others. Now what about you?”

Oh, is that ever a lie of the devil! Chloe wasn’t happy when we told her it simply wasn’t how we wanted to spend our money. But she was still gracious and we left.

Those of you who know me know I’m not averse to shopping! But I don’t appreciate being grabbed by a hook (the samples, the compliments) and then getting a pressured sales job for something that’s way out of my price point and out of line with my budget and priorities.

These women were GOOD–fast talkers, persuasive, lovely, complimentary, constantly buttering up in order to appeal to ego, insecurity, whatever. Don and I talked about the experience later and were able to laugh together. We also realized that, had we succumbed, we would have felt sick with guilt and remorse afterward.

The experience reminded me of bygone days in Puerto Vallarta, a timeshare salesperson on every corner. If they could get our attention we were hooked for 30-90 minutes. If we tried to be polite and say “no thanks”, they had us. We learned to say nothing and keep walking.

It’s a typical “bait and switch”. Bait the individual with samples, with compliments, then once you’ve made eye contact, draw them into your spiehl (how is that spelled anyway?).

Satan does this–he promises happiness, fun, success. “Do it my way,” he whispers. “It’s time to take care of yourself instead of everyone else.” But his lies often come at a very high price. Health problems, addictions, debt, family dysfunctions … when true peace and joy and love are found at the feet of Jesus.

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (Jesus)

John 10:10b

And while we all make wrong or unwise decisions along the way, we also have the privilege of returning to the Father to receive forgiveness and cleansing.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I John 1:9

I want to be wise, to recognize the ‘bait and switch’ maneuvers of the world, the flesh and the devil, and find my peace, my security, my hope, in the only person who gives freely, without reservation, and in truth. No lies, no bait and switch, no high cost of sin. Just walking in truth.

Have you experienced ‘bait and switch’? I’d like to hear about it, whether it’s in a sales environment, your walk with God, or something else.

“It is Finished”

We ran a few minutes late. The parking lot was FULL. Don and I parked next door at the college and walked over. Our hearts thrilled at the church,d filled with those wanting to honor the sacrifice of Jesus for us.

Good Friday–good because God came to earth to live as one of us, to die an anguished, shameful death in order to redeem us. Easter is a time of great joy as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, his conquering of death. But we can’t have Easter without Good Friday. And it wasn’t a good day for Jesus, or for His disciples. Jesus agonized, hung on that rough-hewn cross, struggled to pull himself up for every breath until he gave up his last breath. And his disciples grieved, fearing all their dreams, all their time spent following Jesus was for nothing. Hopes dashed, vision dimmed, grief all-consuming.

He held out his arms and died

He stretched out his arms and died

But the sixth of Jesus’ sayings from the cross was “It is finished.”

It IS finished. He accomplished all that was needed to buy our freedom from sin and eternal separation from God. There is no more I need do to achieve his love, forgiveness, peace, except receive it. Receive the finished work Jesus did when he died, for me. As I acknowledge that he paid the price of God’s judgment on sin and that I am a sinner in need of his forgiveness, he begins his work in me, to change me from the inside out.

My hairdresser and I have been together about fifteen years. A few days ago I told her a few things that weren’t feeling right about my last cut. Finally she looked at me and said “Boy, you’re just imbalanced everywhere aren’t you?” I looked back and responded, almost without thinking, “You bet. I’m so thankful for Jesus. I’m a mess!”

And it’s true. I get jealous, am selfish and prideful. Occasionally I hurt someone I love. I don’t want to do these things. I still sin. But thank God, I am saved by grace. My guilt is gone, covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.

“It is finished” – but it is NOT over. Christ is continuing his work in me, transforming me more into His image. And one day I will be sinless, whole, complete in every way. I look forward to that day. How about you?

Phil. 1:6″… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

How does God’s promise to complete his work in us encourage you?

Grief and Guilt … and Forgiveness

 

God's grace

God’s grace

I was in a dilemma. My husband was still in the hospital, five months after a dual organ transplant. He was very, very sick. But several friends God had surrounded us with in Florida, 3000 miles from home, had made a special Thanksgiving dinner. They invited me and another transplant wife to join them. I wanted to cancel and stay with Jerry. But I feared that if I backed out, the other woman would as well, since she didn’t know these sweet friends who were reaching out to both of us.

Jerry was not happy that I left his side. He may have sensed he would not live long; and in fact he died three days later. Torn that Thanksgiving night, I left, then returned to the hospital as soon as I thought polite. Walking into Jerry’s room, I greeted him with a smile and a warm kiss. I walked around his bed, and what I saw made my heart shatter. A pile of clotted blood, about five inches high, sat beside my husband’s open, but packed, abdominal wound. I looked up quickly. “WHAT IS THIS?”

“Shhh,” responded the nurse as she called for help. Within minutes several doctors were in the room. Tension, and my fear, ran high. I stayed until Jerry was stabilized and could sleep, then left the hospital for my own bed about 2 am.

Would anything have been different if I had stayed with Jerry that evening? I’ll never know. He had multiple episodes of internal bleeding. But I had to deal with the question and its resulting guilt.

As Rene said two weeks ago, Christmas is a magnifier of our emotions. When life is great, Christmas is fun, uplifting, warm. When there are tensions in our homes, we suffer loss, loneliness or guilt over real or perceived mistakes, Christmas increases those feelings exponentially.

Are you grieving the loss of someone dear to you? a decision you made that you aren’t certain was best? After Jerry’s death there were things for which I felt I needed to ask God’s forgiveness, and other things for which I had to forgive myself. I made the decisions I did with the information I had, and with wise counsel–could I have done better?  Guilt–real and imagined–nagged at me.Jesus forgave me; forgive self

My brother Melvyn, a doctor, encouraged me not to go to the “what ifs”. “They change nothing and will only keep you in a hole.” That helped, but I also needed to receive God’s forgiveness, let go, and move forward.

If you’re dealing with guilt, real or false, find a trusted friend to pray with. Ask God for forgiveness and help to forgive yourself, and accept that He knows the past, the present, and the future. Ask Him to bring beauty from your ashes in the New Year.